Doc Savage is without a doubt the second most iconic character from the pulp magazine
era. His exploits took him around the world in his battle against evil. Now I want to start by saying I am a fan of Doc’s, but not a mega fan. I confess I have collected about 70% of the paperback reprints published by Bantam starting in 1964 and concluding sometime in the 80s.
While Doc as a single individual is an amazing concept, I never cared for the team of characters that surround him. These five men, specialist in their individual fields, labelled as genius, are sillier than the cast of Gilligan’s Island. Saddle them with pet pigs, and monkeys (that’s right) and the scope of credibility fades. Still, I am a fan of these pulp era classics.
The storylines are fantastic; with global villains, dinosaurs, lost civilizations, incredible devices, and the list goes on. Doc Savage adventures take the reader on a roller coaster ride of danger, intrigue, mystery and pure excitement. Many stories involve manmade solutions, while others touch on the realm of weird and unbelievable. For this review I re-read The Terror in the Navy, number 33 in the Bantam reprint series, but number 50 (1937) in the characters original publication history.
The United States is in trouble, as battleships and destroyers are succumbing to an impossible force that wreaks vessels on the rocks. Only one man can find the solution, and save the navy from a blackmail scheme that can cost the country millions, or leave the country open to attack from another world power. The Man of Bronze and his aides are joined by Pat Savage, Doc’s cousin, as they tackle a band of ruthless gangsters connected with the mysterious agent threating the nation. It is only after a number of narrow escapes, that the master criminal Braun shows his face. How does he control the impossible force that is rendering the navy helpless? If the country pays his ransom demand, will he really deliver? Can Doc Savage save the day? This exciting tale wraps up aboard a submarine with a daring battle of wits and skill.
Rumor has it that Dwayne Johnson is slated to play Doc Savage in an upcoming movie. Once upon a time that rumor had Arnold Schwarzenegger taking the role. I’m afraid Savage’s day of glory will be reserved for all time only in print. His exploits are so common place today with James Bond, Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, and others who have already walked his path.
If you’d like to read one or a dozen of Doc Savage adventures there are a number of places to pick up a novel. There are even a few places online that offer free downloads, but read all the fine print.
A few of my favorite purchasing sites are: